Posts Tagged: The Guardian

Writers Are Poor

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A British study has confirmed that professional writers aren’t making very much money, and worse, that earnings for writers have fallen 29% since 2005. A survey of 2,500 British authors found median annual income at just £11,000 ($18,800) and only 11.5% of authors were earning a living solely through writing.

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An Author By Any Other Name

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Authors sometimes choose pseudonyms for marketing purposes or in order to rebrand themselves after some catastrophic career decision. Sometimes, they just want anonymity. In the case of Sarah Hall (the journalist), because another Sarah Hall (the Man Booker-shortlisted author) had already published a number of books under her given name, the former was left with the challenge of inventing a pseudonym, a process she found disconcerting.

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An Agnostic, Chortling Freelance Space-Yahoo

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Amid all the meanings and uses that give a word its weight, it’s easy to forget that language is ultimately a system of arbitrary signs. Lexicographer Paul Dickson’s new book “Authorisms—Words Wrought by Writers” chronicles some of the most dynamic moments in a language’s history: those instances when writers endeavored not just to create with words but to create the words themselves.

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Digital Age Changes Writing

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Technology has changed the way writers write, and that change is not just about the rise of e-books. Composition in a digital world is much more malleable and fluid, and changes in methodology alter the structure of sentences and words. Author Tom McCarthy tells the Guardian:

Writing with word processors has given a new organisation to shaping sentences but it has also given flexibility; paragraphs can be switched, flipped and thrown out with an ease that would’ve been impossible when working with a typewriter.

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Digital Age Fuels Sci-Fi Short Stories

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The digital era has brought on a new golden age of science fiction. Electronic books, self-driving cars, and video phones may not seem too fictional these days, but technology like the Internet has empowered all sorts of new distribution methods connecting sci-fi writing with the fans who support it. New science fiction magazines launch with crowd funding campaigns, while tools like podcasts make fandom even easier— and ultimately, it’s all about the fans:

Sci-fi and fantasy’s online success is down to the strength of its community.

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The Poetry Archive Anew

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Poetryarchive.org, the online poetry resource founded by retired British poet laureate Andrew Motion and the recording producer Richard Carrington a decade ago, has just been relaunched. In the GuardianMotion talks about the origins of the website and it new redesign:

Our original intention was to combine three things: pleasure for the general reader/listener, by bringing together existing recordings of “historic” poets with new recordings of contemporaries that we would make or commission ourselves; help for students of all ages and their teachers, by combining these recordings with introductions, brief biographies, lesson plans, a glossary of terms, and all sorts of other educational bells and whistles; a safe haven for poet’s voices, which would mean their voices were not lost to posterity.

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Rumpus Round-Up: All the Abramson News Fit to Print

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Jill Abramson, the first woman to head the New York Times as executive editor, was abruptly fired Wednesday and replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet.

The New Yorker attempted to explain why, with the leading theory being Abramson’s discovery several weeks ago that she earned less than her male predecessor.

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The Literary Novel is Dead! Long Live the Literary Novel!

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It happens every now and then that we find someone toasting (or mourning) the death of the novel—this time, it’s Will Self’s turn.

“How do you think it feels to have dedicated your entire adult life to an art form only to see the bloody thing dying before your eyes?” At the Guardian, the British writer answers his own question with the transcript of his Richard Hillary Memorial Lecture.

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Lit Fic Is Just Another Genre

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Jane Austen wrote for money. She also made readers laugh. So why are her books considered literature rather than genre fiction? Clever marketing, claims Elizabeth Edmondson over at the Guardian. Despite many attempts to define “literary fiction” as something dry and bland, writers have historically written to entertain (and to sell their words)—the importance of categorization comes much later:

Of course, the fact that lit crit types make some absurd claims for lit fic doesn’t mean writers within this category don’t write good books.

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Pink Books and Blue Books

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Across the pond, the Let Books Be Books campaign is circulating a petition calling on publishers of children’s books to stop labeling books according to gender and to “allow children to choose freely what kinds of stories and activity books interest them.” Prominent British authors and publishers have come out in support of the campaign—Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy, says “I’m against anything, from age-ranging to pinking and blueing, whose effect is to shut the door in the face of children who might enjoy coming in.”

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Mary Shelley’s Correspondence Discovered!

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Nora Crook, in perhaps the most exciting click ever to happen on the internet, made the discovery of a lifetime when she came across previously unpublished correspondence from the late Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. The article at The Guardian describes several letters written by Shelley shortly before her death.

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Mendokusai (I Can’t Be Bothered)

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Young people who aren’t interested in marriage or children, sure, but young people who aren’t interested in sex?

According to this article in the Guardian, that’s increasingly the case in Japan, where a government survey “found that 45% of women aged 16-24 ‘were not interested in or despised sexual contact’” and “an astonishing 90% of young women believe that staying single is ‘preferable to what they imagine marriage to be like.’”

Read the whole thing for more on a dominatrix turned relationship counselor, adult-diaper sales vs.

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Our Future Depends On Reading!

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“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.”

Neil Gaiman offers strong words at The Guardian on why libraries, reading, and daydreaming is vital to our future.

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Feminist Victories You Haven’t Heard About

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In a nation as solipsistic as the US, we don’t hear much about politics in other countries. This is doubly true when it comes to woman-centered movements, and triply true when those movements are in Africa.

In an opinion piece for the Guardian, Minna Salami talks about feminist success stories the Western world has largely ignored:

What would have once sounded like a far-fetched feminist fantasy – namely women forming the majority of a parliament – is a reality in one country in the world: Rwanda.

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Fanfiction Gathers Force

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Ever since Fifty Shades of Grey, originally written with characters from Twilight as its protagonists, struck gold, the mainstream publishing world has had to take a closer look at fanfiction.

In the (increasingly unlikely) event you’re unfamiliar with the world of fanfiction, Ewan Morrison breaks it down for you at the Guardian, from the Gospels to 1913′s Old Friends and New Fancies – an Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen to Star Trek/Battlestar Galactica crossover slashfic.

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Writing and Drinking and Writing about Drinking

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Alcohol and authors. It’s a subject so old and rich and fraught you could write a book on it—which is exactly what Olivia Laing did.

That book is called The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink, and Blake Morrison’s review of it in the Guardian is itself a great essay on the subject, covering writers’ love and loathing of liquor in real life and on the page.

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Posthumous Oversharing from F. Scott Fitzgerald

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“Fell in love on the 7th … Quarrel. Silence. Zelda sick … Discovery that Zelda’s class voted her prettiest & most attractive.”

You can’t follow F. Scott Fitzgerald on Twitter, but if you want to know what his tweets might have looked like, check out his handwritten ledger, recently made available online by the University of South Carolina.

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Boston Marathon Roundup

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If you’re looking for a token of solace after the Boston marathon bombings, please check out Roxane Gay’s words if you haven’t already. And Thomas Page McBee reflects on ways to help when feeling helpless.

At the Guardian, Rumpus columnist Steve Almond comments on the histrionic attitude the media has taken on in the wake of the explosions, and wonders if “events such as Monday’s bombing can somehow morally enlarge us as a nation, can help us imagine the suffering of other people and our own duty to those people – wherever they happen to live.”

Boston.com’s Metro Desk eulogizes Martin William Richard, the 8-year old who was killed.

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“A New World of Silence and Control”

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What does it sound like when someone who grew up without music becomes a musician?

For British songstress Phildel, who was raised in an abusive home where she was forbidden to listen to music, that hypothetical question is a reality—and its answer is “It would sound pretty cool, actually.”

This Guardian profile goes into more detail about her intensely weird upbringing and the otherworldly music she managed to pry from it.

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Biting the Hand That Stamps Your Library Book

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Last week, British children’s author Terry Deary (famous for his Horrible Histories series) declared that public libraries are unnecessary relics of a past age; they cheat authors of their rightful earnings and “are doing nothing for the book industry.”

A few days later, Julia Donaldson, another British children’s author, fired back:

…libraries are the places where our readers and book-buyers are created.

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